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Constructing the Future

Staff Blogger Sean Smith Head of Design and Industrial Technology

One of the roles of any school department is the development of a curriculum that addresses the requirements of governing educational bodies and the development of a school syllabus that prepares students for futures that lie ahead of them. In this blog I would like to discuss the present and possible future of year 10 students and how we develop programs that prepare your sons for the world outside school. As most parents are aware students have two subjects they can choose from within our department, Building and Construction and Design. My blog focuses on the field of building and construction and in upcoming blogs we will share news about Design and also discuss a possible new option of Industrial Graphics.

Building and Construction

What do we teach in Building and Construction? In year 10 students are given set projects that develop their physical skills, Language, literacy and numeracy skills, Learning agility, self-management, Critical thinking, Problem solving, Communication skills and the application of Technology, as these skills have been identified as the top generic skills in demand from employers. We do this through practical work which consumes the bulk of time for each project around 80% and the other 20% of time is spent on a portfolio that challenges them with planning, communicating and recording their manufacturing process.

Why do we teach Building and Construction?

A good question and one that can be addressed using this pie chart. Construction is the third largest industry in Australia for the number of people it employs and its share in the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of Australia is significant. Construction is so important to the Australian economy that it was a priority for the government to keep it going during the current Covid 19 crisis. In 2019, over 1,15 million people were employed in construction and a further 118,800 jobs are projected to be added by May 2023 pre Covid 19. That’s a 10% rise in employment opportunities when many industries are shrinking. 2 of the top 5 occupations in demand are Electricians and Carpenters and Joiners and that is one of the reasons for teaching construction.

How do we teach Building and Construction?

Over the year students are given 3 projects. The first is The Level 100 Tradie Stool which is a project that has been modified from the traditional sawhorse, as we found students needed to be challenged with a more complex project. The skills they gain through the smoko stool are then advanced with the Toolbox construction using the dreaded dovetail joint technique. And finally, students move on to a card holder and jewellery box project which extends their skills in the use of different power tools. Each of these projects contains a portfolio where they plan, cost and record what is required to make each project as well as doubling as a way they can present their skill at potential job interviews.

The projects we have developed over time remain flexible and the staff at the College constantly review each project with the intent of making sure the skills they develop are appropriate and industry standard and they are engaging for the boys. The balance comes with the development of old and emerging skills as the construction industry is traditionally a slow adopter of new technologies. We hope to develop confidence in every student who studies Building and Construction to adopt some or all of the developing technologies that are gradually seeping into the industry because if we have confident young men capable of using both new and old tools of industry then we will have young men who are more employable.

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